Exit poll numbers show Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party look to come up short in Tuesday's major and historic snap election on which Netanyahu personally has a lot riding — not just cinching a record 5th term as prime minister, but his grand vision to annex key swathes of the West Bank and then the even closer to home reality that he could go to jail in that he needs to win to gain immunity from various corruption charges.
Exit polls conducted by the country's three main TV channels suggest he could be facing a disastrous defeat, based on his right wing coalition not gaining 61 seats needed for a majority. The exit numbers per Axios:
According to Channel 13 exit poll: Likud won 31 seats to 33 for Blue and White. Netanyahu's right-wing bloc won 54 seats and the center-left bloc led by Benny Gantz won 58.
According to Channel 12 poll: Likud (33) trails Blue and White (34). The right-wing bloc has 57, while the center-left gets 55.
According to the Channel 11 poll: Likud (32) and Blue and White (32) are dead even. The right-wing bloc gets 56 seats and center-left 54.
The Knesset has 120 members, with blocs needing 61 votes to keep a simple majority.
The Wall Street Journal reports it remainstoo close to call, given also the three major television polls have been wrong in the past when the official votes were tallied.
However, the last round of polls published Friday had showed Likud tied with Netanyahu opponent Benny Gantz's Blue and White party, with 32 seats each — suggesting Tuesday's elections look to swing in Gantz's favor.
Though the exit polling shows Netanyahu's Likud has failed to produce a decisive victory, it's still fluid enough to be uncertain whether Gantz definitively won. Because he's headed for jail
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to fight on even as exit
polls showed him tied or lagging behind his main opposition rival,
with a slim chance of assembling the coalition needed for a fifth
won’t have and can’t have a government dependent on anti-Zionist
Arab parties,” Netanyahu proclaimed as the crowd of his supporters
booed and chanted 'we don't want unity.'
needs a strong government, a stable government, a Zionist government,
a government that is committed to Israel as the nation state of the
embattled PM stopped short of claiming a victory – or conceding his
defeat – saying instead “we are waiting for the real results. One
thing is clear: Israel is at a historic juncture.”